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Biography of Barack Obama
Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Barack Obama was born 4 Aug 1961 in Hawaii. His father was a Kenyan intellectual. His mother a white teenager from Kansas. When Barack was still young, his father abandoned the family and Barack would only meet his father on a few future occasions. After a brief spell living in Indonesia, he moved back to Hawaii where he was raised by his grandparents.
For some years, Obama’s nationality was the subject of intense speculation by the right wing media suggesting Obama was not American and was a secret Muslim. Obama later produced two birth certificates to prove his nationality.
After studying law at Harvard he worked as a civil rights lawyer in Chicago. It was here in Chicago that he met his future wife Michelle. They married in 1992 and had two children.
“I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody’s religious beliefs -including my own- on nonbelievers.”
Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope:
In 1996, he gained his big political breakthrough serving in Illinois state senate until 2004. In 2004, he was elected to the US senate where he gained a reputation as one of the Democrats brightest potentials. His book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ became a best seller and increased his profile. In the aftermath of the Iraq war, his reputation was enhanced by his previous opposition to the war.
Despite a lack of political experience, he put forward his name for the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. Against the stiff opposition of Hilary Clinton, Obama ran a near perfect campaign. His campaign generated a flood of popular grassroots support, making use of social media and internet networking.
Against the much older Republican candidate Senator John McCain, Obama won a hard fought contest taking the 2008 presidential election. His victory was greeted with an unusual degree of enthusiasm and excitement – not just in America, but around the world. After decades of racism and segregation blighting American society, the election of the first black American president was hugely symbolic.
On becoming President, he found the political environment very hostile. The Republican dominated congress was able to block much of Obama’s key legislation. However, with considerable modifications, he was able to pass a health care bill which went a considerable way to ensuring greater universal provision.
Obama was elected on a liberal platform. Before the election he promised to close down Guantanamo bay and improve America’s image abroad.
“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
He is perceived as less accommodating to Israel and more sympathetic to the Palestinian position. However, in 2011, the US was the only country to veto a Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements. A year into his presidency, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this promise to promote world peace. Many thought this somewhat premature and so far Obama hasn’t been able to close down Guantamo Bay due in part to Congress’ refusal to give required funds. In 2011, he ordered the assassination of Osama Bin Laden – the person blamed for 9/11 and a target who had evaded Bush. Obama pleged to end American troops involvement in Iraq and by 2011 could announce all troops would be leaving Iraq. However, troops have remained in Afghanistan.
Obama also inherited an economy struggling to overcome the deepest recession since the 1930s. Though recovery was better in the US than Europe, Obama was still blamed for high unemployment, large debt and a weak economy.
However, despite the economy, in 2012, Obama was able to win re-election, defeating the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Obama describes himself as Christian, despite not being raised as a regular church goer – saying that he made the choice in adult life.
Quotes of Barack Obama
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